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AI Startup CEO Criticizes Effective Altruism Movement for ‘Self-Righteousness’ 

Cohere, AI, artificial intelligence

In a letter addressed to his staff, Aidan Gomez, the CEO of artificial intelligence (AI) startup Cohere, expressed his criticism of the effective altruism movement. 

Gomez argued against what he perceived as the movement’s “self-righteousness” and cautioned against extreme actions driven by such thinking, Bloomberg reported Wednesday (Nov. 22), citing a copy of the letter it had seen. 

Cohere did not immediately reply to PYMNTS’ request for comment. 

Bloomberg said in its report that a Cohere spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of the letter but declined to comment further. 

The effective altruism movement, which focuses on how to do the most good for humanity and often remarks on the potential dangers of AI, has gained influence in Silicon Valley and the AI industry over the past decade, according to the report. 

Its proponents include people who have served on the board of OpenAI, the report said. 

Gomez said the movement has become dogmatic and self-aggrandizing, per the report. He also highlighted concerns about individuals who believe they are uniquely qualified to benefit or save humanity, stating that they may be inclined to take extreme actions to achieve their goals. 

Similar concerns have been raised by others about the movement, citing instances where the “ends justify the means” thinking has led to harm, fraud and allegations of abuse, according to the report. 

Regarding the movement’s concern about potential dangers of AI, Gomez said that Cohere remains focused on its goals and is not distracted by scenarios of “doomsdays and terminators,” per the report. 

Gomez also criticized AI startups that have partnered with cloud providers, the report said. Cohere, as an AI startup, has had opportunities to receive significant investments from various cloud providers. However, Gomez emphasized that the company has chosen not to accept money with strings attached. Cohere is committed to maintaining its independence and not being tied to investors who require their funds to be recycled back into their own organizations. 

The effective altruism movement has long been adhered to within the tech industry, but was made famous to the general public by former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, PYMNTS reported on Monday (Nov. 20). 

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